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February 8, 2011
Close calls could lead to better falls
College football teams typically get the ball about three times per quarter.
That means over the course of a game, teams will get about a dozen possessions, though in high-scoring games, there may be more than that.
So, for losing teams that had several games in which they were one possession (eight points) away from winning or forcing overtime, there can be painful feelings of what might have been.
Of course, that can also raise hopes of what could be.
Often times, a frustrating season can be a prelude of better things to come. With a little more experience, a little more luck, some key returning starters and maybe a new coach or a new teammate, near-misses from one season can be transformed into thrilling wins the next. Teams that had losing records or failed to make bowl games could emerge as championship contenders or reach the postseason the next season.
With that in mind, here's a look at eight teams that endured frustration and disappointment in 2010, but had enough close games (and bring back enough starters) to be optimistic in 2011.
Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.